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Rev Infect Dis. 1991 Mar-Apr;13 Suppl 5:S385-7.

Ecology of Acanthamoeba.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Brussels, Belgium.


Acanthamoeba is a free-living ameba that is present in all types of environments throughout the world. The recent increase in cases of keratitis, especially in relation to an increase in the use of contact lenses, is probably due to the omnipresence of the organism as a result of the pronounced resistance of its cysts to disinfection and desiccation. The temperature of the eye is lower than that of the rest of the human body. Therefore, the presence of Acanthamoeba strains that grow at lower temperatures may also contribute to infection, thereby increasing the number of possibly infectious amebas. Recent evidence, however, indicates that perhaps only a limited number of species cause ocular disease. Delineation of the exact species of Acanthamoeba that cause keratitis is a prerequisite for the study of the ecology of the keratitis-producing amebas.

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